“What the heck are we doing out there guys? This is embarrassing for our team. Did we forget that we are Steers?”
That was the fire that Head Coach Rodney Leal lit underneath the Magdalena football team in the huddle after a scoreless first quarter against a team in Navajo Pine that many spectators expected to defeat before half time. The mid-quarter pep talk worked as Magdalena set a school record by scoring 46 points in a single quarter, the second, en route to a 60-6 victory.
“We came out slow and sluggish today,” Leal said. “Not very enthusiastic. Once we stopped making silly mistakes our team was able to take control of the game which I was very pleased with. We had an opponent that fought hard and we were able to fight harder today. Going forward we have to focus every play. You can’t take downs off against any team.”
After a national anthem ceremony that did not go smoothly with multiple audio problems the Steers hit the field through its signature banner and the crowd was excited. A quick turnover on downs looked as though it would be an even quicker game. Then Junior Isaac Lopez fumbled in the red zone and the mistake laden first quarter began. Freshman Josh Baca finally broke for a twenty yard touchdown but it was called back due to a holding penalty.
A score by Isaac Lopez in the second quarter on a run made it 8-0. That was followed by a QB keeper and pick-six by Baca in lightening fashion to make it 24-0. Baca continued his rampage against the defense with a Barry Sanders style run that looked like he was covered in slick gel by missing four tacklers as he glided for a 15 yard score.
The Navajo Pine Warriors managed to get on the board with a quick pass that went through Lopez’s hands for a twenty yard score. The Warriors made it to the locker room at half, but the rest of their trip was short lived. Off of multiple tackles in the backfield Navajo Pine faced a 4th-and-28. The punt was blocked which resulted in the game ending play with 7:05 left on the third quarter clock.
Isaac Lopez took over lead dog duties late in the game and pitched the game winning touchdown to starting quarterback Baca, a 28 yard dime.
“I think we were all mentally asleep in the first quarter,” he said. “We took this team too lightly and they showed up to play. Coach definitely woke us up and from then on we were able to take things seriously. That final touchdown was a team effort.”
The final catch by Josh Baca was his first receiving score during a young career as he mainly plays quarterback. He was excited for the team’s second victory of the season.
“As a group we started off slow,” Baca added. “We didn’t come out here with the right mindset which is why the first quarter was tied. We got our butts chewed out by the coaches which we needed apparently. Sometimes you have to be reminded to play up to your standards and not an opponent’s. That last touchdown felt good for us to be able to take home a win.”
Magdalena is on the road on September 6 against the 0-2 Logan Longhorns, part of the MaxPreps Touchdowns Against Cancer Games that will run through September. The Melrose Buffaloes will be the next home showdown at 7 p.m. on September 6.